Global food prices rose in March, the first increase since July, pulled higher by cooking oil prices despite the cost of grains continuing to ease, the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization said Friday.

The FAO's overall Food Price Index climbed 1.1 percent over the month to stand at 118.3 points in March 2024. On an annual comparison it was 7.7 percent lower.

The sub-index for vegetable oils jumped by 8.0 percent over the month to reach a one-year high. The FAO said prices for palm, soy, sunflower and rapeseed oils all climbed higher.

Rising palm oil prices were driven by seasonal drops in output in leading producing nations that coincided with strong demand in Southeast Asia, while demand from the biofuel sector pulled up soy oil prices.

Dairy prices rose by 2.9 percent in March on a monthly basis, while meat prices climbed 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, cereals prices slid 2.6 percent on a monthly basis, while sugar prices fell 5.4 percent.

Food prices reached a record high after Russia invaded agricultural power Ukraine in February 2022 but have dropped since then.

Last month's uptick comes as inflation has slowed dramatically in many countries but a recent rebound in global oil prices has sparked concern it may persist at a level that could discourage central banks from cutting interest rates.